Monday, April 27, 2015

Weekend O' Service!

Hello my amazing, wonderful, awesome (Insert positive adjective here) family and friends!

​This week has been pretty good!  To start, Elder Rasband and I have been doing great!  He's from Draper, but his family moved to Virginia while he's been out, so he'll be going home there.  He's pretty soft-spoken, but he has a spirit of calmness and meekness about him, and I like that a lot about Elder Rasband.  He's a great last companion for me on my mission.

As far as the investigators and the teaching pool is going, we are still trying to get more.  We have been putting a much greater emphasis on working with the members.  We had five member lessons this week, and we have been asking them about who they're "working" with to share the Gospel.  We will not let those members forget their duty!

Stake conference was this weekend, and Elder Call of the Seventy came.  He held a meeting before the Sunday session, and all investigators, less-actives and recent converts were invited.  A couple of recent converts from our ward came, and it was great!  After the session, I had the opportunity to stand in the circle of to confer the Melchizedek Priesthood upon a fairly recent convert.  It was a great experience!  Definitely a first for me; I've given the Aaronic, but not the Melchizedek until now.

On Saturday, there was a "Mormon Helping Hands" project that we and the stake attended.  There were several groups doing different projects, but the YSA Ward went along a riverbed and picked up trash.  It was surprisingly pretty fun!  There was some pretty cool graffiti along the underside of the bridge too, so that was sweet.

Today has been a pretty good day so far.  I'll be honest.  Mom, I took your gift card that you gave me and spent it on clothing that I could take home.  We live right next to some outlet malls, and I just couldn't resist.  Two years ago, I never thought I would voluntarily go to a mall on P-day, but now I love it!  (That was probably just very dangerous of me to say...)

I love you all, and I want to say "Happy 2nd Birthday to Lincoln this week!"  I'll talk to you soon!

Elder Harper

There's a street in Oxnard called "Elder Street".  It's a famous missionary landmark, and I couldn't resist.

Here's also me right next to the beach.  Probably the closest I will ever get as a missionary.  One of the members lives right along next to it.

Monday, April 20, 2015

'Twas Glorious

​Hello my wonderful family and friends!

Wow, this week, especially Sunday, was fantastic!  First of all, for transfers, I will be staying here and finishing my mission in the Camarillo YSA Ward.  Elder Gerber is leaving to go home in 2 days, and my new companion's name is Elder Rasband.  I've talked to him a couple of times, but I've never served around him before.  From what I've heard, he's a great missionary and other people say that we have similar personalities.  Should go well then!  I'll keep you posted.

SO.  Sunday was amazing.  Laura came to church for the first time!  She absolutely loved it.  She is definitely progressing in the Gospel.  It's kind of a slow progression, but it's a progression nonetheless.  Personally, this is what I believe.  She knows that the Book of Mormon is true and that the church is true, but she's afraid to act on that belief.  She knows baptism is necessary and essential, but she seems to lack the faith to pray for whether or not she should be baptized.  She will keep moving along I'm sure, and I really want to help her with that. 

I think I mentioned it, but she has been bringing her friend Jennifer to the lessons too and we've been teaching her.  She's pretty shy and doesn't speak much unless we ask her a question, but she has been liking the lessons so far too.  They both have great fellowship as well.  I love the YSA Ward because people are just awesome fellowshippers!

So this lady in the picture I sent is Karen Crawford:  the second person that I have been privileged to interview for baptism!  The other missionaries we live with taught her, and Karen is a great lady.  She has a strong desire to serve others, and after a lifelong search for God and Christ, she feels that she has found Them with this church, despite her husband's lack of interest and some less-than-supportive friends.

The best part of the week happened last night though.  All the missionaries in the mission met in Ventura for a meeting, but it was a mystery who was going to be there.  We gathered and waited, and to our surprise, David Archuleta walked into the chapel.  Apparently he was going to be in Los Angeles that weekend, and he wanted to speak to the missionaries on the way down.  We were the lucky ones (being the mission right above LA).  He talked to us for a good 2 hours and sang great hymns such as "Come Come Ye Saints", "Be Still My Soul", "Amazing Grace", "I Believe in Christ", and "Glorious"--a 2012 EFY song.  He shared stories with us about his mission and he also talked a lot about grace, and the experiences that he had on American Idol.  He said that even though he never got a lot of sleep while he was on the show, he always made the time to read the scriptures, and it made all the difference in the world for him.  He has a great voice!  He doesn't need any computer touch-up programs.  He is legit!

I'll be honest, he was a lot more humble, genuine and spiritual than I thought.  He really is a great person and he chose to speak to us out of the goodness of his heart.  I really gained a lot more respect for David Archuleta yesterday.  We got pictures with him as zones, and I'll send those next week or whenever President Felix sends them to us.  It was great!

Well, that's about it for me.  I hope that everybody has a great week, and I will talk to you soon!

Elder Harper

Monday, April 13, 2015


There's not ever enough time!  ​Hello everybody! 

This week was pretty good, we did a lot of paperwork though.  We had to collect a lot of information for the monthly stake report and then an evaluation for all the members of the zone.  It took up a lot of our time this week, but we were still able to do some missionary work!

This week, we met with Laura again.  We had a lesson about prophets and their role.  Just as with just every other YSA/teenager that I have taught on my mission, Laura's parents are pretty against her meeting with us also.  It's kinda unfortunate, but we know that she can pull through it.  Other than a few lessons a week, we have spent some of our time at Cal. St. University Channel Islands doing a few tabling events to "advertise" the Institute of Religion that is there.  There are very few members, and so we have been going there trying to invite others to join.  By campus rules, we need to have another student with us there also, but it hasn't really worked out very well that way.  We are trying to coordinate better with the students/teachers, but it's still in the blueprints.  Hopefully it will come around soon!

I DO love that we have various activities throughout the week that we go to.  On Monday nights, we go to our ward's FHE, and on Tuesday, a few of us get together and play soccer and then go to Institute afterwards at the church building.  (I have gotten much better at soccer, even though I don't like it as much as other sports... :) )

There's really not enough time to email...pretty much ever.  But I love you all and I hope you are doing great!

Elder Harper

P.S.  Here's a picture of the FHE bonfire and the Hungry Hungry Hippos activity!  I have a video of it too but it's too big to send home...

Monday, April 6, 2015

My last General Conference as a Missionary. :(

​Hello my amazing family and friends!

Wow what a fantastic week it has been!  There have been quite a few awesome things that have happened!  Let me tell you!

I have a testimony of the principle that, "when one door closes, another door opens".  Sadly, this week, we lost Cole, one of our investigators, and to make it even worse, one of the recent converts that was baptized in February said that he didn't need religion in his life... o.O
BUT!  I say that this week was fantastic because we were blessed with a new investigator named Laura!  She was found by the other missionaries that we share the ward with, but lives on our side.  She has been meeting with them for about 4-5 weeks now, and loves it.   The YSA's broadcasted general conference from the Institute building, and we went there and saw it.  Laura came and saw the last bit of the Saturday morning session and watched the whole Saturday afternoon session, and she loved it!  She even brought a friend along that we have also been keeping in contact with. 

Laura is super friendly and has made a lot of friends with members from our ward.  (Pretty much all of the guys in the ward have been hitting on her...NOT US!)  She really enjoyed conference, and we are going to be having a lesson with her on Tuesday.  It should be great!  I'll let you know how that goes.

General conference!  I REALLY enjoyed it.  I was really surprised when somebody opposed the sustaining vote, but other than that, I thought it was pure revelation from God.  Specifically Elder M. Russell Ballard's talk.  Holy cow!   I can't wait to study those talks more thoroughly.  It was amazing the difference I felt as I went into conference with a specific question in mind versus when I have just gone to "enjoy the show".  I really feel like I have been better able to understand and discern the feelings of the Spirit on my mission.  Granted, I'm not a master yet, but being able to feel promptings and knowing that it's from the Holy Ghost has made quite the difference.  For all of us that watched conference, there really not a better thing we could have done at that time.  It's great to hear and understand the words of modern-day prophets.

Today, our zone is going to be playing life-sized Hungry Hungry Hippos.  I'll send pictures!

I love you all!  I hope your week is great!

Elder Harper